tv [untitled] September 8, 2012 8:30pm-9:00pm PDT
ballot. and i can't imagine how you must feel. but, you know, i think we need to give the people a chance to vote on it, since we have so many signatures gathered. let the city decide and however it turns out, go with it. thank you for your time and consideration. >> president chiu: are there any other members of the public that wish to speak at this hearing? at this time, colleagues, this hearing has been heard and is filed. and item 23 is in the hands of the board. >> president chiu. >> president chiu: thank you, colleagues, and to members of the public, i want to thank the community that has come back again to talk about this project. i'm frankly sorry that we're here. i'm sorry that we weren't able to resolve this before this
date. as you've heard though, i also want to thank the community that is here, the coalition that has worked to bring this vote to us for tremendous accomplishment. for the first time in a generation, san franciscans are going to place a referendum on the ballot. utilizing our constitutional and democratic right to referendum. now the developer in this project repeatedly disparaged the community that was involved here, in fact told all of us privately and publicly that there are only a handful of local members opposed to eight washington. i think the coalition did an amazing job of collecting 31,297 signatures in 29 days. i don't think 31,000 voters in 29 days is a handful of local neighbors. now there was a suggestion today that these 31,000 folks represent most of the opponents of this project and colleagues, today, we have a chance, i believe, to vote with the
majority of san francisco, as i think some of you read, there was a recent survey by david binder that asked a question that will be put to voters, should this city raise height limits on the waterfront from 84 to 136 feet to build eight washington. over 2-1 oppose this project. that's a 30% margin. it's not even close. in fact, colleagues, in some districts, and i'm not even referring to my own, the no votes are actually much higher. we're talking about margins of 50%. colleagues, today, though, in addition to voting with the majority of san franciscans, we also have a chance to save the city million to 2 million dollars related to the election. you may wonder why. in fact you may wonder why i have a box here. you may wonder what this booklet is. there was a reference made to the 540 pages that were asked of the volunteer signature
gatherers that they had to carry. colleagues you remember i had asked us to pass an amendment so that the signature gatherers wouldn't have to lug around this book. but they did. and there were 525 of these books that filled 65 of these boxes to deliver to the department of elections, over 31,000 signatures. i was told by our deputy city attorney that this is going to have to be reprinted in the handbook. if you add these additional 500 plus pages, we're roughly talking about a million and a half to 2 million dollars of additional costs for the election in november 2013 when we already know that two times as many san franciscans oppose this project than actually support this project. now let's talk about the substance. and i'm not going to rehash what you've already heard, the fact
we know there's a community recreational community that is going to be destroyed, the fact we're building luxury condos when we don't need it, we have way more parking we need in one of the most dense and traffic friendly areas in the city. but the campaign that has started has been talking about the fact that we do not want a wall on the waterfront. by that we refer to two things. first of all to the project itself. the fact that this eight washington project is 80 feet higher than the old embarcadero freeway, due to the 62% height bonus that mr. snelgrove is receiving. this project is almost a football field long, due to the 200% bulk bonus. but i think more importantly, this issue is about the precedence of this height increase and the fact that we are going to be starting to build a wall on the waterfront and you ask is that true, we're just talking about one project. as referenced by some of the
speakers there are many projects in the pipeline. let me take one as an example, 75 howard street. currently an eight story garage. it's zoned at 200 feet. the most recent and revised proposal is for 356 foot, 175 luxury condo project. it's zoned 156 feet higher than the current zoning, 300 feet higher than the old embarcadero freeway. now, getting back to the initial comments made by our former city attorney, louise renne is the wall along our waterfront what we want for the future of our city. 50 years ago the fontana towers started epic battles between the developer and neighborhoods. these battles were resolved by agreements in height that we have in place today and those agreements are being ripped apart with the votes we have cast. earlier this summer i think that
this board of supervisors sent the wrong message to san francisco about what we ought to stand for. and colleagues, i ask you to support the democratic process and send the right message about what we stand for, the fact that we do not, at san franciscans stand for walls on the waterfront, ask you to vote yes. thank you. >> thank you, colleagues. any other comments? supervisor wiener. >> supervisor wiener: thank you, mr. president. i'll be voting today as i voted before, to support this good and smart project. i stand by my vote. i did not vote for this project simply because it would create jobs. i didn't vote for it simply because it would give the port money. and i certainly department vote for it for any kind of side deal. i voted for this project because it is a good and appropriate
project. the facts today are exactly what they were several months ago, when eight members of this board voted to support eight washington. so what's changed since then? well, opponents of the project have gathered 31,000 signatures. we don't know from the department of elections how many were valid. we were simply informed that at least 19,000 and some odd, the minimum required, are valid. we know that there were at least that many. there was somewhere between 19,000 and 31,000. we know from campaigns you don't ever achieve 100% validity. i tip my hat to opponents for running this campaign and gathering these signatures. this has been alluded to and this is a critique of the ballot measures in california that you can collect signatures for just about anything.
we've seen on the ballot proposal through signatures to create the alcatraz peace center, to ban circumcision and name the sewer plant after george bush. we've seen pg am e and the insurance industry put on ballot measures that were nothing short of power grabs. so the fact that the signatures were gathered does not change my view on this project. and what i will also say is that the signature gathering campaign -- and this is not a criticism of the opposite, because this is how campaigns are run -- provided one side of this project into the airport at without providing the other sired. i spoke to both signature gatherers and various people who had spoken to signature gatherers, and what i learned,
and what i heard was that there was talk of spot zoning without mentioning that these buildings will be shorter than most of the buildings around them, including the embarcadero center, and that there is a step-down to the embarcadero. there was talk about the elimination of recreational space without mentioning that this is a private club, and that the pools will be improved, and that a new public park will be created. that wasn't mentioned. there was talk of housing for the 1% without mentioning that over $10 million in affordable housing fees will be generated. and that part of the opposition are two mega real estate conglomerates, boston properties and equity office. they're not the only opposite and i know that this was a coalition but those are two of the opponents and that certainly was not mentioned. there was a talk of a wall on the waterfront, without mentioning the current status of
the green fence on the waterfront, without mentioning that this project, love it or hate it, will create retail and walkable space along the embarcadero. once this goes to the ballot, there will be a campaign, and the two sides will get to present both sides of the argument, the opponents will get to argue their case, the supporters will get to argue their case, and the voters will make a decision, just as this board made a decision after hearing both sides. however, the voters decide that matter, i will respect that judgment, and it will be the will of the voters, after having heard both sides and not just one side. but a signature gathering campaign that presents one side without the other does not show that this is somehow the will of the voters. the will of the voters will be expressed when this goes to the ballot, not because a successful signature gathering campaign
occurred. i stand by my vote and i'll be voting today against the repeal. >> president chiu: supervisor campos. >> supervisor campos: thank you, mr. president. and it's interesting to see how these lawyers keep talking about the same issue, but let me just add this point. i wasn't going to say anything about this vote today, but i do want to respectfully disagree with something that supervisor terms of the substance of this project, haven't changed since the last vote. but i do want to acknowledge how unusual it is to have these numbers -- this number of signatures collected. the fact is that we have had a number of projects here, at the board of supervisors, including quite frankly projects that i in some respects believe are far more important in terms of what they represented to the city,
and the parkmerced project being, you know, a key project that i wish that -- had gone the other way. and collecting signatures on that project was not something that was successful. so it is very unusual that these so many signatures have been collected. and i don't think that it's necessarily accurate to minimize the importance of that because i do think that collecting signatures in the short period of time, during which these signatures were collected, was a pretty significant thing. and, you know, i don't know i tt it necessarily reflects exactly where the public is, but i don't think that it's something that is -- you know, that is usual. it's something that doesn't happen very often. in fact, as we heard, it's something that at least, from what we know, hasn't happened in a number of decades. so i think that is something
that has to be recognized. >> president chiu: supervisor olague. >> supervisor olague: colleagues, over the past several weeks, i have been cajoled, pressured, and forewarned of dire electoral consequences if i did not change my vote on this project. to say the least, this experience has been anything but pleasant. i sort of felt like a school girl being bullied on the playground but i think maybe i succumbed to that type of bullying and pressure when i was eight. but at 51, it's a different story and i just don't feel like responding and basing my votes based on fear. so i can't be fearful of the consequences of not changing my vote today, but i plan to remain steadfast in my commitment to stay the course.
i view this as a commitment to my progressive ideology, and my experience observing the planning processes here in the city for the past few years, and so i feel comfortable with my vote on this project. i don't think it's a perfect project, but i think on balance, it doesn't -- i believe that there are projects that have been approved by this board in the past, like rincon hill, like trinity plaza, that, you know, may have even more severe impacts, but on balance, the community benefits that were exacted in those projects balance and mitigate the impacts that the projects have on the city. so that's why i'm comfortable supporting this project. i'm also joined by three other
progressive colleagues on the board, supervisors mar, cohen and kim, who i believe also share similar values and concerns about low income communities here in it san francisco. part of -- some of the -- what's being granted through this project is $11 million that is going towards affordable housing. currently, with dissolution of redevelopment, i do believe that we have very few resources for obtaining funding for affordable housing. and sadly, we rely on development to fund development. and in this instance, with $11 million hopefully we'll see senior housing, or -- and other affordable housing leveraged through the development of this project. in addition, as the carpenters
and sheet metal workers know, i'm very critical of many projects. i didn't support the parkmerced project because i thought the impacts on the city were far too great. but also that referendum measure was not funded by the same people that are funding the wall on the waterfront campaign. boston properties is one of them. i believe that equity office properties is another. i do believe that the campaign was somewhat misleading in that it led many members of the public to believe that there was a wall on the waterfront that was going to be created. but let's not lose sight of the fact that the eight washington development, which steps up from 48 feet in height along the embarcadero to a maximum of 130 feet height at the rear of the sight fits the scale of the buildings in the area. in fact, it is lower than the nearest residential building, which the golden gateway apartments which stands at 250
feet high, and is certainly much lower than the boston properties embarcadero office building, which starts at 550 feet. so i think that once the debate is out there, people can weigh both sides, some folks will still decide that this is not a project they support. i think it is comparable to other projects that, as i mentioned earlier, were supported by this board. again, parkmerced was mostly a bunch of advocates. i believe it was the tenants union and others, was not funded heavily. it was a truly a grassroots campaign, and sadly the signatures to prevent the destruction of 1500 units of rent controlled housing were not gathered. but, you know, that being said, when you look at projects even like treasure island, i think the impacts are much greater than the impacts of this proje
project. so, again, it will be up to the members of the public, when this measure is finally placed before the voters. i think on balance, as i mentioned, i don't think it has the impacts that other projects that we have seen supported before have had. and my only concern, i think, is raised because part of my support for the project is the fact that it is guaranteeing union jobs and not all projects guarantee those types of jobs which i still believe represents the best-paid jobs for workers along with the best benefit package usually. but i do have some concerns when i hear women, the young woman that spoke to us, raised issues about underrepresentation of women at some of these sites. so that's a conversation i'd like to have with the trades. but i think, again, do i think it's a perfect project?
no. but i haven't heard anything compelling enough to make me want to change my vote today. >> president chiu: thank you, supervisor. supervisor else bernard. >> supervisor elsbernd: i would like to address this issue of the number of signatures changing our minds, a little experience in that regard. i remind you two years ago i appreciate the 31,000, i remember two years and two months ago i showed up at the department of elections with 79,000 signatures opinion admittedly i had six weeks to collect them not 29 days but 79,000 signatures and did something that had not been done in generations. no one had done that in well over 30 years as well as i could do my research. i recall with many of you sitting here making the exact same argument to you. you voted against it but then 80,000 citizens up and said they wanted to support the muni
measure. and i also remember showing you polls that showed a poll 2-1. i remember many of you telling me sorry, i still can't support it. i learned a lesson. number of signatures don't necessarily move the dial. maybe some people's positions have changed and you want to use that argument today even though you rejected it two years ago, i suggest we leave that argument off the table and the vote today should be on the merits of the project. two months ago scales of justice, positives of this project outweighed the -- there are this project hasn't changed. i will be keeping my vote the same. >> president chiu: supervisor mar. >> supervisor mar: thank you. i also will be keeping my vote consistent from my previous vote but i will reveal, like others, that this has been a very difficult decision for many different reasons. i have nothing but respect for the many residents of the golden gateway and the many neighborhoods that really worked
hard to gather those signatures, and to really speak up for their neighborhoods. so i have nothing but respect for them. i also understand there are concerns in other neighborhoods about the concern of upzoning and the precedence that sites especially with projects in the pipeline coming to the waterfront, and also issues of the views as well, that some have raised. the vote's also tough because i and others have advocated for reducing significantly the parking spaces for raising the in lieu affordable housing fee to 25% which is significant. i know children and families will be playing in the pacific park and children's playground or jackson commons that will eliminate the fence and kind of the dead end so there is more access to the waterfront or the swimming pool access for many children of many neighborhoods or the 55 cent parking fee that really will help to make more of the connections and create
better streets. but i will say that it's difficult because i respect people on both sides but i'm doing my best to listen. i think i will be respectful of the voters as a referendum comes to the ballot in 2013 but giving my rationale about being consistent on my vote on this project. thank you. >> president chiu: supervisor kim. >> supervisor kim: i wanted to concur that i voted on this project, that i voted to approve this project two months ago. i think over all, as with any project development that comes to on the board of supervisors, we often have benefits and of course we have aspects of the project that are detracting. but i think over all, through the lengthy process that i think our board engaged with, i think that, as supervisor else bernard said the positives outweigh the negatives. i want to highlight significant benefits from this applican proe
are seeing the highest inclusionary fee in san francisco and i think that's important to mention. this is money that could potentially go to another waterfront parcel that could be dedicated towards affordable housing. i think that we have talke talka lot about who this waterfront is for and i agree with the water mark and potentially with the washington project we've approved two luxury developments on the waterfront and i'm excited that the port is moving forward with a parcel on seawall lot 22-1 that can be dedicated toward affordable housing also for the city. unfortunately for us to get funding to move these projects forward we often depend on market rate developments in san francisco. we saw it with the millennium, with the water mark, with st. regis, all passed with a super majority vote of the board of supervisors. i think with the calculations that were made with this project, we found that we were able to raise significant
benefits, whether they were the parking fee which for the very first time was negotiated to be in perpetuity to go toward streetscape and also again the highest inclusionary off site housing that was offered as part thf negotiation. i do agree though with supervisor wiener, this will be moving forward on to the voters. i think that it is important that voters get a chance to weigh in on this project as long as the signatures threshold was met for this to be put to a vote. and i look forward to hearing from voters as this comes before us in the upcoming election. >> president chiu: thank you, colleagues. unless there is additional discussion let's take a roll call vote on the question of whether the ordinance shall be repealed. >> the clerk: supervisor mar, no. supervisor olague, no. supervisor wiener, no. supervisor avalos, aye. supervisor campos, aye.
president chiu, aye. supervisor chu, no. supervisor cohen, no. supervisor else bernard, no. supervisor farrell, no. supervisor kim, no. there are three ayes and eight nos. mr. president, this ordinance has not been repealed and i will notify the department of elections. >> president chiu: that is the vote. if i could ask members of the public if you could leave quietly because we have a little more business to conduct today. colleagues, i had one additional 3:30 proclamation i wanted to offer. i'll give a moment for folks to cleave thclear the chamber. if i could ask members of the public if you could please take your conversations outside.
>> president chiu: again, if i could ask members of the public if you could please take your conversations outside. so we can finish our business today. thank you. colleagues, i didn't want to interrupt the eight washington hearings with this final proclamation. but it is for someone who i know is not expecting it, who has been sitting in this chamber for the entire time, and we are now going to look at her. someone who has worked very closely with every single one of us and our staff, our deputy
city attorney, sheryl adams, who was just told by our city attorney dennis herrera that she will head up our city's trial team which is one of the best trial teams in the country. congratulations for that. but i have circulated a proclamation signed by all of us and figured it might be worthwhile to read some portions. whereas deputy city attorney sheryl adams has served as general counsel since 2005 during which time she's consistently demonstrated her grasp of the law as well as her dignified public presence, whereas she's always had the difficult task of working with 11 public officials when do not always disagree and occasionally remind her that many of them are also attorneys. whereas despite the challenges of her new role at head of the trial team ms. adams is sure to be relieved that certain supervisors and aids will no longer call her in evenings and
weekends. whereas deputy city attorney adams has demonstrated incredible capacity to answer the same questions over and over often from the same individuals and whereas she knows she will no longer have to decide if an amendment is substantive or not let it be resolved in recognition of her years of service to the legislative branch of the government, the board of supervisors does hereby proclaim september 4, 2012 to be sheryl adams day in san francisco. congratulations, sheryl. >> [applause.] >> president chiu: i know there are a couple of folks that may have some things to say.
supervisor wiener. >> supervisor wiener: she trieses to avoid me because i joined the trial team and she left and went elsewhere and now i come to the board of supervisors and she promptly goes back to the trial team but i won't take it personally. seriously i know not just in the year that we were on the trial team but what i heard from people in terms of the many years before that, that you had spent on the trial team, is -- although i think people here generally see you in a certain role, what people don't always know is that your really just a very superb and widely respected trial lawyer and the trial team is an amazing place and i just think they're incredibly lucky to have you as their leader. and i know we're going to miss you but our loss is the trial team's gain. i will say that although dealing